Like most businesses across the UK in the wake of COVID-19, financial planners and advisers are now working remotely at home. If you are not already using a financial newsletter to engage your clients during this period of self-isolation, then now is probably the perfect time to start one and develop your marketing strategy.
How COVID-19 has changed the email landscape
There is a widespread belief that older clients of financial planners do not generally use the internet. A 2016 report by Age UK, for instance, suggested that over one-quarter of 65-75 year-olds are not regular users, and this figure rose to 61% for those over 75.
However, this picture was changing even before March 2020. Between 2011-16, the proportion of 75+ people who used the internet (over the previous 3 months) almost doubled, up from 20%. For those aged 65-74, usage rose from 52% to 74%.
By 2019, 83% of 65-74 year-olds had used the internet. With the COVID-19 outbreak now confining elderly relatives to their homes, it seems almost certain that older generations will turn to digital communication technologies at a rapid pace, to help ensure they can still peak to their children, grandchildren and friends.
Digitally-based financial newsletters have long been a valuable tool for engaging financial planning clients. Yet in 2020, it is reasonable to assume that they will become even more important, especially as financial planners look for ways to engage with people who are prevented from physical meetings.
Core Components of a Financial Newsletter
If you want to start a financial newsletter, what steps do you need to take? Starting a successful newsletter is not always easy, as there are many moving parts. Working with an experienced financial marketing agency can be a big help.
However, regardless of whether you get professional marketing help or take a “DIY” approach, it’s a good idea to consider the following before embarking on a financial newsletter:
- Purpose. What will your newsletter be for? It’s important not to simply run a newsletter because you feel that you should. Rather, make sure you have clear reasons and goals in place.
- Audience. Who will receive the newsletter? How do they like to consume content, and what kinds of pain points might your newsletter content help address?
- Frequency. How often should you send your newsletter? Why?
- Resource. How much time, money and staffing can you afford to commit to your newsletter?
- SEO. What part will your financial newsletter play in developing your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, if at all?
- Technology. Which email marketing system will you use to design your newsletter template, distribute it to your subscriber list and analyse campaign results?
The Content Calendar
Once you have the answers to the above questions, it’s a good idea to plan your content for the months ahead. Here at CreativeAdviser, for instance, we typically help financial planners to create a “content calendar” for the next 3 months or business quarter.
Naturally, the first priority when deciding topics for the content calendar should be your clients. What value are they looking for right now, which your content can provide? Which pain points can your content help to alleviate? Which questions can you help provide answers to?
Coming at things from this angle, rather than simply trying to drive a cross-sell or up-sell, is much more likely result in higher email delivery rates and open rates. As your clients consume more of your content, the more you grow familiarity and trust in your brand through the thought leadership you are offering.
In the best scenarios, moreover, clients love your content so much they post it on their social media or forward it to their friends and family. Sometimes, a financial newsletter can be so successful that it leads to media coverage and public speaking opportunities, as it has done for some of our clients.
Another important aspect of your financial newsletter, however, is its relationship to the search engines. If you use a PDF attachment as a newsletter, for instance, then this can work very well for your existing email list. Bear in mind, however, that the PDF format will likely make it ineffective at growing your search engine rankings.
A bespoke, blog-based financial newsletter, on the other hand, can be much more potent in this regard. If you target the right keywords, Google can pick up on this and push your content further up in relevant search engine results. As a result, the content for your financial newsletter can also be a powerful driver for organic traffic to your website, and possibly also new enquiries.
Your Financial Newsletter & Content Features
Assuming you have your newsletter strategy and content calendar in place, what kind of content should you include? Here, there is a range of possibilities. The suitability of each type will depend on your unique marketing goals, strategy and needs. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Blogs/articles. These are great for clients who love the written word, and for expanding on an area of financial planning in greater depth. They can be powerful tools for SEO, too.
- Infographics. A powerful visual representation of a more complex area of financial planning. These work very well to help illustrate ideas to clients, and facilitate memory retention.
- Downloadable guides. Similar to blogs and articles, these guides take written form. Their unique benefit, however, is that they can be “stored” and “shared” easily through their downloadable PDF format.
- Video. Animated “explainer” videos are a great way to engage clients, and they can be embedded into a blog or even a financial newsletter itself (depending on the email marketing solution that you use). Here at CreativeAdviser, we create these videos for financial planning clients, as part of our monthly digital content package.